Newsroom > News > Press Releases > Driving Demand: 2018 Outlook for Intercity Bus Industry in the U.S.
January 29, 2018 /
Posted in: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences /
“Economic growth paved the way for new services, while luxury options and tech-oriented transformations push the sector in exciting new directions,” said Joseph Schwieterman, director of the institute and lead author of the study. Brian Antolin, industry expert and a research affiliate at the institute, is co-author of the study. The researchers outlined trends including:
“America’s scheduled bus lines, after hitting a rough patch, are again on the move and adopting some surprising strategies to attract new customers,” noted Schwieterman. “Competition is as brisk as ever.”
Luxury ‘private sleeping cabins’ come to the bus market The most heavily publicized new service of the year, Cabin, launched in California in July 2017, with service from Santa Monica and San Francisco. Originally piloted in 2016 as “Sleepbus,” Cabin describes itself as a moving hotel, having “private sleeping cabins” that allow passengers to lie flat while also having onboard lounges with conventional seating. Cabin’s attendants work to keep passengers comfortable while also positioning it as a lifestyle and hospitality brand. “Cabin represents a bold experiment away from the standard seating configuration used by other premium providers,” noted co-author Antolin. “By positioning itself as a hospitality brand, it charts a new course for attracting more affluent clientele,” he added.
Tech enters the intercity bus market Technological innovation, meanwhile, is pushing scheduled intercity bus travel in important new directions, explained Schwieterman. Ticket aggregator sites like Wanderu are becoming platforms of innovation, making it easier for customers to book motor coach travel. These sites are also making new pop-up services possible, such as that offered by OurBus, one of the fastest-growing startups of the year. Crowdsourced services and innovations involving transportation network companies, such as Lyft and Uber, are emerging as change agents. “As more consumers turn to apps to make travel decisions, intercity bus operators are learning how to play the game, which means informing potential customers about ways to avoid the congestion of airports and the tedium of driving,” said Schwieterman.
Trains and buses on one ticket Small communities are seeing similar changes, researchers found. Enhanced coordination between Amtrak and motor coach lines indicates that both types of transportation providers realize untapped potential in bus-train transfers as part of the Amtrak Thruway bus program. Thruway service allows passengers to buy tickets involving bus-rail connections with a single click, said Antolin. “States are ramping up their efforts to create feeder bus service that support passenger-train routes,” he noted. “Integrating bus and train service is an effective way for governments to stretch budgets in a time of great fiscal stress.”
The full report, “Driving Demand: 2018 Outlook for the Intercity Bus Industry in the United States,” is available for download at http://bit.ly/chaddickDPUrsrch.
Sources: Joseph Schwieterman firstname.lastname@example.org 312-362-5732
Brian Antolin email@example.com
Media Contact: Kristin Claes Mathews firstname.lastname@example.org 312-362-7735